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March 18, 2016

Eviction Program Helps Both Landlords and Tenants

Not every landlord is in the rental business. For small landlords, renting out a portion of their home often generates a primary source of income. Losing that rent could mean falling behind on a mortgage.

Chicago Volunteer Legal Services is the only local legal aid organization that represents landlords as well as tenants. They are hosting a three-part training on housing law, beginning with Eviction Basics on April 13, Eviction Practice on May 11, and Issues in Subsidized Housing on June 8.

For more information, visit their posting here.

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March 15, 2016

The Investing in Justice Campaign: 10 Years of Influence and Impact

When the Investing in Justice Campaign launched in 2007, it raised more than $600,000 from about 1,600 individuals at 35 participating law firms and companies within just a few weeks for the cause of access to justice. Skeptics pegged this strong response as a one-year wonder; the following year, the economic crisis of 2008 further threatened the Campaign’s potential.

But the Campaign’s numbers grew even during that time.

Amidst the economic upheavals Chicago has seen in the last decade, the growth of the Investing in Justice Campaign is proof that we still believe in justice for all through thick and through thin.

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March 8, 2016

Chicago’s Legal Community Joins Together As One to Advance Justice for All

Since 2007, Chicago’s legal community has come together every March to raise awareness and critical funding for local pro bono and legal aid organizations through The Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF) Investing in Justice Campaign. Over the course of that time, the Campaign has grown from 35 participating firms and companies to more than 150. The roster of participants is a who’s who of law firms, corporate legal departments, and other legal community partners, and today it is the largest campaign of its kind anywhere in the country.

Chaired this year by Susan Levy, executive vice president and general counsel at Northern Trust, the Campaign officially kicked off with an evening reception for Campaign leaders at Northern Trust’s Chicago office on March 7th. The Campaign runs throughout the month of March.

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March 2, 2016

How the JEP Helped One Lawyer Achieve Her Dream

Joanna Long, an alum of the CBF’s Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP), was featured on “In Their Own Words,” a series by the American Bar Association that highlights lawyers from around the country sharing the benefits of incubator project.

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February 29, 2016

CARPLS Legal Aid’s Emergency Room

The phone rings. I answer to a woman frantically telling me that DCFS still hasn’t released her daughter to her care. Her daughter was taken from her pending an investigation of neglected supervision. I have to interrupt her in the midst of her plea to tell her that we do not provide direct legal services at the CBF.

The scenario plays out several times a day. Someone’s fighting an eviction, another is fighting for their child. One person is looking to turn their life around by expunging a record. They can’t afford a lawyer, but they’re clearly in need of legal help. I can’t personally help them, but I give them the legal version of 911. I refer them to CARPLS, Cook County’s free legal aid hotline and one of the many outstanding organizations you are supporting through the Investing in Justice Campaign.

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February 29, 2016

Access to Justice and the Critical Diagnostic Role of Lawyers

Some Good Food for Thought from Other Disciplines

Having shared some thoughts on the future of our profession and what we might learn from other disciplines in part one of this post, today I turn to the billion-dollar question of what it all means for access to justice.

Looking at this question through the lens of the client as we always should and recognizing all of the advances in access that technology and improvements in court processes are making possible, when does someone really need the advice or assistance of a lawyer to justly resolve their legal issue? When is it okay for people to use increasingly robust self-help legal resources to address their issue rather than get assistance from a good lawyer, especially knowing there is not nearly enough free and affordable legal help to go around today? And finally, what should we as a legal community be doing to shape the future so that all people have access to the level of legal help they need to achieve justice regardless of their income or circumstances?

All big questions for sure, and I think the answers we collectively write in the next few years will be critical to whether the future turns out to be a boon for both our profession and access to justice, or the end of our profession and justice system as we know them. While that may sound overly dramatic, I am not sure we can overstate the magnitude of change that is both necessary and already afoot, or the need for the legal community to get out in front of these changes to lead the way towards a better future.

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February 23, 2016

YLS Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament 10 Years of CBF Support

On Friday, January 30, the CBA Young Lawyers Section hosted its 10th Annual Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament to benefit the CBF. Nearly 100 attorneys, judges, law students, and others from the legal community came together at the Chicago Cultural Center for a night of competition, camaraderie, and charity.

The CBF would like to thank the YLS for organizing […]

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February 19, 2016

Lobbying and Touring at the State Capital

The CBA Young Lawyers Section and CBF are set to explore Springfield, Illinois on Tuesday, April 5 to Wednesday, April 6, 2016.

There will be opportunities to learn more about Illinois’ legislative process and how to lobby, as well as to meet with legislators and make new connections. Highlights include tours of the Capitol Building and Illinois Supreme Court; viewing of the General Assembly and Committees; and free time to explore Springfield (including the Lincoln Museum).

Law students and attorneys of all experience levels are welcome! Learn more and register.

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February 19, 2016

Answering the Call for CARPLS

Answer the call and help low-income families in Cook County with an immediate response to their every-day legal problems! CARPLS, an innovative legal aid service, is looking for hotline volunteers to provide advice, brief services, and referrals.

CARPLS’ next three-part hotline training begins Wednesday, March 23, from 4 to 8 p.m. (17 N. State St.). The first meeting involves substantive law training in landlord/tenant, domestic relations, and consumer debt.No experience is required and attendees will receive MCLE credit as well as dinner!

Please contact Leslie Wallin to register for this training or with any questions.

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February 8, 2016

The Honorable Mark A. Drummond: A Triple Threat

Legal Aid Academy Colleague Corner
By Meg Benson, Co-Chair of the CBF Legal Aid Academy Advisory Committee

Mark Drummond is a trial lawyer, a jurist and a teacher. All at once.

Judge Drummond has been on the bench in west-central Illinois’ 8th Judicial Circuit since 1999. Sitting in Quincy, on the banks of the Mississippi River, he presides over both civil and criminal trials.

We know that once an attorney puts on that black robe, he or she has to put aside the advocacy of litigation to remain impartial and objective. However, many attorneys believe that, Once a trial lawyer, always a trial lawyer and, underneath this judge’s black robe, beats the passionate heart of a trial attorney. As a result, in addition to serving as a judge in Quincy, he teaches litigation skills to attorneys around the world.

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